State News

Michigan State Bar Embarrasses Itself with Dubious Way of Covering Payroll


July 30, 2019, 9:37 AM

Way to put the underhanded roll in payroll, State Bar of Michigan.

Here's what-were-they-thinking news, delivered by Freep reporter JC Reindl in a forceful top paragraph:

The State Bar of Michigan has vowed to never again pay its staff by dipping into a special fund intended for compensating clients whose lawyers ripped them off. 

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Turns out the professional organization in Lansing was cash-short last fall "because of technical issues that affected a website that processes members' yearly dues," the paper explains. So its finance director moved $275,000 from the client safeguard fund to the staff payroll account.

Don't do that again, State Bar commissioners say. A new policy "specifically prohibits using money from its Client Protection Fund for unintended purposes," Reindl writes.

The moved-around money was restored within days after certificates of deposit were cashed. 

State Bar services, by the way, include ethics seminars, a phone help line, posted opinions, FAQs and other resources for more than 40,000 members who want to do the right things. 

Practicing lawyers must join the group, which governs Michgan attorneys' conduct and looks into complaints. Standard dues are $315 a year, with $15 going to the client protection account.

-- Alan Stamm 


Read more:  Detroit Free Press


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